Maintaining Legal Status

MAINTAINING LEGAL J-1 STATUS

As an international student under J-1 visa, you must follow specific U.S. federal immigration regulations that pertain to the J-1 category. Students are legally responsible for maintaining their own status by learning, understanding, and complying with U.S. laws and regulations that apply to you. If you are unsure how to maintain your status, consult with an OISS advisor. Your failure to be aware of and comply with these regulations could jeopardize your academic plans.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITY CHECKLIST:

  • Be in good academic standing and make satisfactory academic progress. Suspension, dismissal, or any other similar action which prevents enrollment may have an effect on legal immigration status. See an international student advisor at OISS.
  • Extend the DS-2019 prior to its expiration date if unable to complete academic program by original expiration date.
  • In the event of change of academic program or level, update the DS-2019 in a timely fashion.
  • Maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year (Fall and Spring).
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week during academic year. J-1 students are required to obtain authorization from OISS before engaging in on-campus employment.
  • Do not work off-campus without authorization.
  • Keep your passport valid at all times. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the U.S. from a trip abroad.
  • Maintain health insurance coverage.
  • Notify the OISS if you leave the program before the end date of your DS-2019.
  • If your permanent or current address changes, update you address through Pipeline within 10 business days.
  • Check your HPU email regularly for updates from the OISS and read those OISS emails carefully. Follow up on these emails as necessary.
  • Ask an International Student Advisor any questions you may have regarding your immigration status or regulations.

SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR J-1 STUDENTS

Immigration regulations require all international students to report any change in their local U.S. address with OISS within ten (10) days of arrival for new students and within ten (10) days of any address change throughout their course of study (during Optional Practical Training (OPT) as well). This information will be updated in students’ SEVIS records.

  • Login to HPU Pipeline
  • Select “Personal Info” (under “My Quick Links”)
  • Enter “Personal Information Menu,” Click on “Verify Address(es) and Phone Number(s).”
  • Verify the current address information you have, and select the appropriate address you will update/insert.
  • At the Dropdown Box: “Type of Address to Insert”: Select “SD “to update your SEVIS domestic address
  • Mailing Address: address in the United States where you receive your mail;
  • SEVIS Domestic Address: physical address/place of residence in the United States. This cannot be a P.O. Box address;
  • Permanent Address: address in your home country.

*Do not type in any special characters, for example, dashes (-), underscores ( _ ), or periods.

 

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will permit our office to extend a student's program completion date for compelling academic or medical reasons. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension. Students must apply for a Program Extension BEFORE their program end date on DS-2019. If the expiration on the DS-2019 has passed, students must meet with an OISS advisor immediately, as the student is considered to be out of status.

 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

To qualify for a program extension, J-1 students must meet the following requirements:

1. The expiration date of the DS-2019 has not yet passed

2. Continuously maintained the J-1 student full-time academic status

3. The delay in completion of program must be due to one of the following reasons:

  • Compelling academic reason necessitates the extension of DS-2019
  • Documented medical reason (see an OISS advisor for additional requirements) necessitates the extension of DS-2019

4. Must submit financial documents and extended health insurance coverage, which cover the requested extension period and student’s home institution does not cover

5. Must provide OISS with a letter from student’s home institution approving the extension.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

  • A student who has satisfied all requirements for graduation/completion of program, s/he cannot continue to be enrolled for other purposes without taking action to maintain status. Even if the school continues to enroll the student, a student who has completed all requirements for the program must apply for OPT, apply for a change of status to some other classification, or depart the United States in order to maintain status.
  • A student is not eligible for a program extension if s/he requires additional time to complete incompletes or withdrawals.
  • If there is a change in funding source, provide financial documentation covering expenses for the extension period
  • Submit complete documentation to OISS for an extension 30 days before the program completion date listed on current DS-2019.

Immigration regulations require international students in J-1 status to register in full-time fall and spring semester.  Student are required to enroll in full-time course load throughout the semester. For immigration purposes, full-time enrollment is defined as (fall and spring semesters):

 

LEVEL OF STUDY CREDITS/HOURS REQUIRED
UNDERGRADUATE TWELVE (12)
GRADUATE NINE (9)

 

Students must also be registered at HPU by the Last Day to Add at the semester start date.

Students who drop below full-time without approval (see below) from HPU must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security via SEVIS.  As a result, the SEVIS record will be terminated and the student will lose lawful J-1 including employment eligibility and benefits.

 

ONLINE COURSES RESTRICTIONS FOR J-1 STUDENTS

F-1 and J-1 students may enroll in online classes. But online class enrollment has certain restrictions that affect full-time enrollment requirements and student visa status in the U.S.

General definitions: Online classes do not require any physical presence in the classroom and are subject to enrollment restrictions. However, hybrid online classes, where coursework is completed through a combination of online and in-class participation, are not subject to enrollment restrictions.

NOTE #1: Different online class restrictions - J-1 immigration regulations are different from F-1 immigration regulations with regard to online class restrictions affecting full-time enrollment requirements.

J-1 students may not apply any online credit hours to meeting the minimum full-time enrollment requirement. Therefore, if enrolling in online classes:

  • Undergraduate students must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes – before enrolling in online credit hours.
  • Graduate students must register for a minimum of 9 credit hours of in-class or hybrid online classes – before enrolling in online credit hours.

 

8A AND 8B COURSES

International Students are not permitted to enroll in 8A/8B courses on military base or online courses. Exceptions for online courses will be made for extraordinary circumstances with a clearly stated rationale. For undergraduate students, these exceptions are approved by Academic Advising and Graduate student exceptions are approved by graduate coordinators and faculty advisors.

 

AUDIT COURSES

Audit course units are not applicable to the full-time enrollment total.

The end of your academic program affects your J-1 status. After you complete your exchange program, you have a 30-day grace period. Within this 30-day period you have the following options:

  • Depart the U.S. Once you leave the U.S. (including trips to Canada and Mexico) after completing your studies you are not eligible to re-enter with your current DS-2019. The grace period is meant for travel within the states and preparation to depart the U.S.
  • Apply to change status to another visa category. OISS advisers are unable to assist with change of status applications. If you need additional assistance, we recommend you contact an immigration attorney.

If you do not complete your educational objective (for example, if you withdraw from your program), you are not eligible for the 30-day grace period. Contact your OISS adviser in this situation.